Friday September 28, 2012
Malaysia have S. Korea for company
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will have South Korea for company in the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament in Quilmes, Argentina, from Nov 24-Dec 2.
Eight teams – Malaysia, South Korea, Poland, Canada, Argentina, South Africa, Ireland and Japan – will feature in the tournament and Malaysia will open their Group A campaign against Poland on Nov 24.
Malaysia’s other matches are against South Korea on Nov 25 and Canada on Nov 27.
Argentina, South Africa, Ireland and Japan are in Group B.
The quarter-finals will be played on Nov 29 and the semi-finals are scheduled for Dec 1. The final is slated for Dec 2.
Malaysia will be seeking to avenge their 3-2 defeat by South Korea in the Olympic qualifiers in Dublin, Ireland, in March.
Malaysia failed to qualify for the London Olympics after losing to the Koreans and Ireland (2-1) in the qualifiers.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) secretary Johari Aziz said their target is to improve on the fifth placing the team achieved last year.
“Looking at the draw, only the Koreans are ranked higher than us. So, we should finish top four in the tournament,” said Johari.
South Korea are ranked seventh in the world while Malaysia are 13th, followed by Canada (14th) and Poland (19th).
The Champions Challenge I will be the first assignment for national coach Paul Revington, who was hired by MHC last month. He will be assisted by former international S. Arul Selvaraj.
The national team will start training under the Irish coach after the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) ends on Oct 10.
The winners of tournament will be promoted to the Champions Trophy next year.